The Benefits of Volunteering
The Benefits of Volunteering
From gaining confidence to being independent, volunteering goes a long way towards boosting your career. We speak to Amna J. Al-Rumaihi, Strategy & Performance Officer at Qatar Career Development Center, who tells us about the impact volunteering has had on her life and career.
Volunteering has many pluses. You get to form lifelong friendships, your self-confidence gets a boost, and you benefit from being a part of something empowering that gives you a sense of purpose and perspective. On top of that, you learn new skills and interests that you can take into the workplace.
What’s also important to know is that volunteer work on your resume carries a lot of weight. Simply put, if an employer is faced with two very similar candidates, volunteering work is going to give you an edge over the next candidate.
Amna J. Al-Rumaihi, who volunteered for several charitable organizations such as the UNCTAD XIII United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, IPC Athletics World Championships, Doha and the Doha Film Festival (in which she was recognized as the Best Volunteer), said that her volunteering experience has gone a long way towards helping her in her current role as a Strategy & Performance Officer.
“I developed people management skills, learnt how to work with teams and improved my coordination and communication skills,” she says.
In this interview, she speaks to us about her experience, and the rewards of volunteer work.
Why did you consider volunteerism?
Mainly for my personal development. I was considerably shy and somewhat of an introvert, and I wanted to improve myself. I felt that volunteer work, and the opportunity to meet and interact with new people from different cultures, would take me out of my comfort zone.
What roles have you taken as a volunteer?
Depending on the organization, I have volunteered in the media department, done ticketing and accreditation, and also helped in the spectator area.
What have you learnt from your experience as a volunteer?
I learnt to work under pressure, improve my communication skills, and develop patience. I also met and formed friendships with people from various backgrounds that enhanced and developed my knowledge about people and the world.
What was the most challenging aspect of volunteering?
The first days are always a bit of a challenge. It’s a new environment, and there are new volunteers to work with.
What is your biggest takeaway from volunteering?
It’s not about the money. It’s about giving back to the community and the country, which is far more rewarding.
Was there anything that you did not like about volunteering?
There were some people who did not take their roles seriously, and this affected other volunteers who had to take on the extra workload.
How has volunteering changed you?
People who know me personally can see the change in my personality. I am also remembered by people whom I worked with during my volunteering stints, so that is a very warm and rewarding feeling.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about becoming a volunteer?
Well, they will need to be patient and be open to last minutes changes and should never hesitate to go the extra mile. Mostly, they should enjoy the experience as it is truly rewarding.
Aside from being a truly rewarding and enriching personal experience, here’s how volunteering is going to benefit your career:
Learn Life and Leadership Skills
Volunteering will help you develop new job skills as well as apply current skills in new ways. Everything from organizing events and fundraising to working in teams goes towards making you more employable. Because volunteering also gives you a chance to tackle a range of issues from human trafficking to animal conservation, the life skills you will learn from the experience will impress potential employers.
Volunteering means that you will need to adapt to an unknown culture and environment. This experience helps build confidence, and coming out on top says a lot about you as a person, particularly to potential employers.
Expand your network
You get to meet people from all walks of life, and you could just bump into people with similar interests or that have jobs similar to the one you want. Those already working in your target field are a great source of information about job opportunities, and this could open up doors for you. And don’t forget, if you have good experience volunteering, your supervisor might serve as a reference when you’re applying to jobs.